Someone like me would be lying if I didn't tick the box, indicating I had epilepsy but that, frankly, would tell the potential employer very little. Because:
- Yes. Neurologists would diagnose my condition as epilepsy.
- I don't and have never convulsed (in other words, fit the stereotype.)
- I never need an ambulance or medical attention after a seizure.
- I'll be 'back in the room', as it were, within a few minutes.
- My epilepsy doesn't affect my productivity.
- 500,000 people turn up for work every day with a hangover.
- Their hangovers significantly reduce their productivity.
- 600,000 people have a form of epilepsy.
- People with epilepsy know their limitations & will explain if you them a chance.
- People who arrive at the workplace with hangovers are less likely to.
- There are about 50 different types of seizures ranging from blinking to blacking out. Isn't the type of seizure more important information than the umbrella name for the medical condition?
However most people think convulsions are what epilepsy is all about.
When my friend ticks the epilepsy box he's pretty sure that the potential employers examining his application will look at that piece of 'information' and move it (at best) to the bottom of the pile or (at worst) discard it completely. It just doesn't seem fair. He's intelligent, hardworking and a man with great integrity.
What about the Disability Discrimination Act, you might be thinking? Yes. What about it! No potential employer is stupid enough to ignore it and actually admit that epilepsy is why they don't want you on their staff. They'll find a reason that will be totally unconnected.
As said friend was saying...it almost makes you want to skip that box and just pretend or lie. Reality is, it's better to sit in front of someone and explain what happens to you specifically rather than tick a box which perpetrates an age-old myth.
I've no idea how employers imagine they could use the data they gather from the epilepsy box. 'Do you have epilepsy?' is the beginning of a conversation and in no way is a tick-the-box question.
Let's replace it with 'If you have a form of epilepsy, what form do your seizures take and how are you affected by them?'